We all have dreams. A young couple dreams of purchasing their first home together. New parents dream of the day when they can send their child off to college. Our country is rooted in the American dream, which tells us that the opportunity for a better life exists for each of us.
Those who achieve their dreams inspire us and give us hope that we may one day do the same. Our own dreams motivate us to push beyond our limits and continually aim higher, to grasp what at first may seem beyond our reach.
The Florida Bankers Association (FBA) represents approximately 300 banks and trust companies of all sizes. As the Associations president and CEO, I am proud to work in an industry that helps people turn their dreams into reality. Each day, banks provide funds to buy a home, attend college or start a business. This dedication to fulfilling dreams led the Florida Bankers Association to sponsor a contest that will make dreams come true for several outstanding people in need.
Through the Bank On My Dream (BankOnMyDream.com) contest, 10 deserving recipients are each being awarded $5,000 to help them achieve their dreams. The nominees come from a variety of backgrounds, but share a common trait: their desire to improve the lives of their families or communities. A single mother whose son is battling cancer seeks help paying her bills so she can focus her time and energy on her sons recovery. A family in need wishes to provide a safe and reliable mode of transportation for their disabled child. An organization hopes to provide resources to help kids with disabilities learn to walk on their own. Five thousand dollars can go a long way toward making these important dreams come true.
While the Bank On My Dream contest lets the Florida Bankers Association highlight the dreams of 10 special individuals and organizations, banks serve as dream-makers for thousands more Floridians every day. In 2012 alone, Florida financial institutions funded an estimated 461,771 mortgage loans totaling nearly $90 billion. Last year, Florida banks made an estimated 48,473 business loans ranging from thousands of dollars to $1 million. Florida bankers also provide assistance through financial planning and personal budgeting, so clients can manage their money wisely and save for an ideal retirement lifestyle or trip around the world.
In addition to these services, banks and their employees contribute to the success of their communities by sponsoring youth sports leagues and teams, supporting local Boys & Girls Clubs, and volunteering in activities including Habitat for Humanity, nonprofit boards and others.
The dreams of our nation are as numerous and diverse as the people who dream them. I am honored to contribute to helping Floridians take one step closer to their unique American dreams.
Alex Sanchez is the president and CEO of the Florida Bankers Association.